How To Build A Huge Valuable Following On Instagram

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“Build a massive Instagram following!” “Get More Followers Now!”


How many times have you seen this title? Too many.


Everyone is concerned with numbers, you should be concerned with conversion. When we are talking Instagram I’m going to look at “Conversion” as engagements and interactions.


Here is a really boring graph that is basically going to tell you that Instagram is currently the fastest growing and most consumed social network. With 300 million monthly active users there are plenty of people scrolling through feeds ready to double click on your latest selfie but why should they like your photos, let alone follow you? well let me tell you…


1. Have A Theme!


I love fixed gear bicycles. I love the simplicity, ease of transportation, the community, culture, and most of all I think they look super sexy. In December of last year I started a little blog called “Schwinning” (I know right 🙂 ) I started by simply posting bikes I loved and interacting with people who had a similar interest. I was able to grow from literally 0 followers to over 14,000 extremely active followers in less than 6 months. ( I can help you do the same email me for more info @schwinning_ is just one example of how the methods i’m teaching work.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

There’s nothing like that early morning ride. #schwinning

A photo posted by #schwinning (@schwinning_) on

People started following because they liked what they saw, and more importantly, knew what to expect! When your Instagram page has a consistent image and theme your following and your engagements will grow much faster than if it’s just random photos. Create a clear, consistent theme and stick with it!


2. #HashTags!


Hash tagging your photos makes it easy for people to find your photos but more importantly it makes it easier for you to find other users who share your interests, these are going to be your most dedicated and loyal followers.

An “expert” is going to tell you to go find the most popular hashtags and use them with your photos as well as liking others photos that post with them to get more likes/follows. Do not do that.

Current top 15 hashtags on Instagram according to Webstagram:

  • 1.#love 940,179,654 posts
  • 2.#instagood 432,793,166 posts
  • 3.#me 383,299,672 posts
  • 4.#tbt 357,691,090 posts
  • 5.#Follow 347,708,672 posts
  • 6.#cute 345,628,007 posts
  • 7.#followme 336,968,637 posts
  • 8.#photooftheday 327,828,212 posts
  • 9.#happy 312,322,620 posts
  • 10.#tagsforlikes 309,042,631 posts
  • 11.#beautiful 298,859,003 posts
  • 12.#selfie 288,532,047 posts
  • 13.#girl 269,703,119 posts
  • 14.#like4like 241,143,216 posts
  • 15.#picoftheday 238,016,548 posts

These are all just generic tags that are not tied to any community other than accounts seeking attention and higher numbers. They might like a photo or two but forget about retention or loyalty and certainly no sales. We just talked about establishing a theme, do some work, research who is talking about the thing that you love to post photos and chat with people about. Find SPECIFIC hashtags and engage with the people posting, you have the same interests now all thats left to do is connect! for example with @Schwinning_  I use:

  1. #Fixie
  2. #FixedGear
  3. #bikeporn
  4. #fixiegram
  5. #fixieporn
  6. and of course #Schwinning 🙂 (which has 7,260 posts!)

I use and have created more but you get the point, if your instagram is awesome photos of you climbing rocks out in the middle of nowhere you’re not going to use #fixie so if you’re trying to build an instagram following that loves indie clothing don’t use #like4like and #followme just because they have over 100,000,o0o posts.

(bonus tip: Post the hashtags as a comment after you post your photo, it will create a much cleaner post yet still provide you with the exposure of the #hashtags.)

(bonus tip 2: I thought I should tell you some limits. Instagram will not let you follow more than 7,500 people, like more than 350 photos per hour, (stay at 300 or less to be safe i never get close to 300) and you cannot post more than 30 hashtags per post.)

3. Photo Quality! 

I cannot stress this enough, if your photos suck no one will take you serious, let alone follow you. Do not just snap a blurry photo and slap a filter or two on it. Seriously, please do not do that. There are plenty studies about which filter gets the highest engagement rate but that is like performing a study on which fast food restaurant is the healthiest. DO NOT USE FILTERS. The best photos on Instagram do not have filters. Quality Over Quantity applies here perfectly, it’s better to have 1 good photo a day than 5 mediocre photos. This also ties into your theme. If your posts are consistently at the same time or times daily, you can train your following to know when to expect new content which will also help you to see a higher engagement rate!

Your phone will do just fine! I use an iPhone 6 and here is an awesome list of must have apps I use daily and will help you make your photos look professional and in turn get you more likes!

These are the main apps I personally use every day. I could write a whole separate article on just these, but for now download them and play around. (I will go into more depth if you’d like or just ask me any questions you have on Twitter @TimTrad)


Now that your Instagram is worthy of a following, how do you gain those followers?!


Don’t actually take anything but you can really leverage your competitors or other accounts that have a large active following in your niche. If you are a brand new clothing company and you make rad simple yet elegant tees, you want to find someone else (like, say, @freeclothing for example 😉 ) who has been doing that successfully for longer than you. They have done the hard work for you! You now have a free, highly targeted, list of potential followers. Now go through this list (since you know they will love your product) and engage with them.

Don’t be fake, pushy, and certainly don’t try to sell.

Simply like, follow, and interact with them like a human. A like will help, a like combined with a comment will almost always get them to at least click on your profile, and a like, comment, and a follow will result in (for us) almost a 50% return.


2. Collab!

This is simple but very important; find other similar users and promote each other. Make some friends and help each other out. You are trying to build a community after all!

3. Sponsored Posts & Giveaways

Find someone with a large ACTIVE following (preferably above 100K followers) and offer them free product in exchange for a post with your account tagged in the caption as well as the photo. I’ve met some awesome people out on the road who have fell in love with our brand and they have been a huge help in growing my Instagram accounts.

Everyone loves a good giveaway. Team up with other brands, influencers, or even other friends and offer joint giveaways. One giveaway model that works really well for me is:  For the user to be entered to win they must post a specific photo with your designated hashtag and tag two friends in that post. Each entry then notifies two other people on their potential to win. Get creative and see what works for you!


These are some of the most basic yet important ways to build a REAL, ACTIVE, targeted following. Start here, follow these simple rules and watch your page start to grow like you never thought possible!

I want to hear what is working for you and help you fix what is not working. Leave a comment or hit me up on twitter!


Good luck!

– @TimTrad


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  1. Iwona 3 years ago

    We have tried 99% of your techniques and still, building a community is a hard nut to crack. At we are passionate about traveling and love featuring travel bloggers. We reach out to them, we find people with #travel and try to engage with them too yet, we have not gathered a huge following yet. Maybe we’re doing something wrong?

  2. Ben 3 years ago

    I too have tried these methods but find it hard to grow my following. I have gotten 100 follows in a week but seems so hard to continue to grow. I want to grow more but not sure how. My account is any help?

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 3 years ago

      shoot me an email, let’s chat.

  3. Jessie 3 years ago

    The tip about posting hashtags 2-3 hours after image post is unfortunately outdated. Instagram recently changed their module to where the images only show at the top of hashtag search when the image is taken. If an image was taken at 10pm and you hashtag at 1am, the image will not show at the top of the hashtag search. Confusing to explain; hopefully it makes sense.

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 3 years ago

      Ah That’s right! thanks for the update! I would still recommend posting them in a comment, it makes for a cleaner post and still serves the same purpose 🙂

  4. Kat Smith 3 years ago

    Love this article, so true, although I don’t really follow all those rules. My following numbers have gone up.
    IG: @modelkatsmith

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 3 years ago

      Thanks 🙂

      There are tons of methods, I just wanted to provide simple action items to get started with!

  5. Angie Casadonte 2 years ago

    Hi Tim! I shot u a tweet thanx for responding! I’ve been trying to tackle the #fblogger posts. Oh so popular and oh so difficult! How to create a unique approach to what millionaire are doing as well..I’ve managed to gro, not as fast lol but I’m never satisfied lol. Engagement is tough. I also try to keep up with/create diff vibe with linking YouTube vlogs about style eye with that. I def see a diff when following these guidelines in terms of likes/engaging but my question I suppose (if I had to choose 1) is I’m trying really hard to build myself, more importantly I’m trying to collab/get sponsorships/or just have someone say “hey, will u wear a tee and tag us?” I’d even buy it! Lol just saying. I just work really hard at my #blog and pics and I just can’t seem to….seems it’s not balancing out I suppose. Maybe I just need to stop working so hard and have a lil fun. Then again, I kno I need to stay on point and focused in order to create stability and attract who/what I’d want. It’s aggravating at times. Maybe check out my feed? Any suggestions? Sorry for novel! Much love Ox Angie

    • Profile photo of Tim Author
      Tim 2 years ago

      Hey Angie!

      I’m honestly stoked that I could help! We love support from and even offer Bloggers their own specific discount code! We are also building an affiliate program for TeeTubes and I’m super excited about that.

      If you wanted to sign up for TeeTubes I could set you up with your own discount code and then have one to offer your following as well! Let me know what you think, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on next months tee!


  6. Angie Casadonte 2 years ago

    Hi Tim!! Absolutely I’d love that opportunity! Thanxx so much! U have my info I do believe….let’s chat! It would b an honor to work with u guys! I am 1000000% behind ur brand! Lmk deets 🙂
    So excited talk soon!
    Ox Angie

  7. Angie Casadonte 2 years ago

    Hi again Tim lol
    Forgot to ask…did u check out my insta feed at all? I kno ur prob super busy but if u do Lmk any suggestions u might have! Thanx
    Ox Angie much love

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